TTF Spring Newsletter – 2015

The Open Championship to return to Royal Portrush

The Royal Portrush Dunluce course has been confirmed as the venue for one of the world's biggest golf tournaments, the Open Championship, possibly as early as 2019 which will be some 68 years since it was last held at the famous Irish Links. The earliest it can be held will be 2019, however, this depends on infrastructure work being completed and approved.

Calamity - Royal Portrush

The decision to bring the tournament to County Antrim follows the successful staging of the Irish Open in 2012 a European PGA Tour Event that sold out for all 4 days. Northern Ireland's major winners Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke led the calls for the Open Championship to return to Portrush. Four time major winner Rory McIlroy has already said winning the Open at Portrush would be the pinnacle of his career. As a 16 year old schoolboy Rory famously shot a 61 (11 under par) around the links in the North of Ireland Amateur Championships, so who would bet against him?

Initial plans will see a couple of holes from the Valley Course being redesigned and incorporated into the championship course, with the current 17th & 18th holes being used for the Corporate Clients and Merchandising.

Future British Open Dates for the record;

2016 – Royal Troon, 14th to 17th July 2016
2017 – Royal Birkdale, 20th to 23rd July 2017 
2018 – Carnoustie, dates TBC

From Dream to Dram; the new Kingsbarns Distillery

Take a local golf caddie and dram lover, a man with a dream, and add a characterful cluster of old farm buildings set amid sunlit barley fields ruffled gently by sea breezes. Introduce a prominent Fife family with impeccable whisky credentials, then sprinkle generously with determination and the spirit of adventure and that in a nutshell is how the new Kingsbarns Distillery was formed. Douglas Clement at Kingsbarns DistilleryWhile working as a golf caddie at neighbouring Kingsbarns Golf Links, it was Douglas Clement's vision that first inspired the idea for a distillery at Kingsbarns. His determined belief in the project and an unfettered passion for single malt whisky has been instrumental in bringing the dream to life. The Wemyss family owners have a longstanding passion for malt whisky and connections with the industry dating back to the turn of the 19th century and so along with Douglas’s vision the story of Kingsbarns Single Malt Scotch Whisky begins. 

Whisky Barrels

With the conversion of a historic and semi-derelict farm steading into a distillery the new Kingsbarns Distillery opens another chapter in the Wemyss story and adds an exciting new dimension to an award-winning portfolio of single cask regional malts and blended whiskies from Wemyss Malts. Wemyss Malts started to distil at Kingsbarns in January 2015 and according to the Scotch Whisky association rules, it will be a wait of at least 3 years and a day before they can legally bottle the first Scotch whisky, so it will be with growing excitement and great expectation sometime in early 2018 the distillery will provide their first dram! Kingsbarns Distillery is also looking to make a small number of individual casks available to buy during the early years of production and full details will be available later in 2015. 

Speak to the team at Travelling the Fairways and book your tour around the newest distillery in Scotland.

Useful Booking Information for the 2016 Season

  • Muirfield – We are now able to book tee times at Muirfield for the 2016 season. Remember Muirfield only takes visitors on a Tuesday and Thursday morning from 8.30 am thru 9.50 am. You can have lunch in the clubhouse where jacket & tie is required and also play a ‘foursomes’ round in the afternoon should you wish. 

  • The Old Course St. Andrew’s – As always the earlier you can let us know if your group wants to play the Old Course the better. For the 2016 season particularly after an Open Championship has been played there (16-19 July 2015) it will be very busy, so if possible try and let us know by July/August 2015 for play any time during April thru October 2016. This will give us the best possible chances of securing your group ‘guaranteed starting tee times on the Old Course’.

  • Royal Co Down – Year on year we are finding Royal Co Down keeps on getting more and more popular and as a result Royal Portrush is also seeing a large increase in visitor numbers. There is no doubt Northern Ireland in particular is enjoying the ‘Rory factor’ and of course Darren Clarke has just been appointed Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain. Ideally you need to have your plans to play golf in this part of the world by November/December 2015 for the 2016 season.

  • Royal Troon – Is the venue to the British Open 14th thru 17th July 2016. The course will likely close early June 2016 for any visitor play, so be aware of this should you wish to arrange your tour to the South West of Scotland.

Other useful closure dates

Carnoustie – Senior British Open 21-24th July 2016 & Tassie Cup 4-10th September 2016
Muirfield – British Boys Amateur Championships 9-14th August 2016
Royal Porthcawl – British Amateur Championships 13-18th June 2016

Winter in St Andrews

Renowned for some spectacular skies we thought you might like to enjoy this picture that was taken by the Swilken Burn on the Old Course St. Andrew’s on the 18th February 2015. After enjoying some spectacular sunsets the previous week we were treated to the amazing light show that is the Aurora borealis.

Northern lights over the Swilken Bridge

Rugby World Cup 2015

This September/October sees the Rugby World Cup being played at venues all around England and Wales with the semi-finals and finals being held at Twickenham in London late October. To our many friends and clients from the southern hemisphere particularly South Africa, New Zealand and Australia at Travelling the Fairways we have set up several 3 to 4 day golf itineraries in North West England, Scotland and Ireland. These itineraries will include golf at some of the finest golf courses in the British Isles and are a great opportunity to tick off some of the Top 100 Golf Courses in the World.

Please note, group sizes are limited to 4 or 8 persons and for more details of what is available please email or

Walker Cup Matches 2015

Royal Lytham St AnnesThe 45th Walker Cup matches between the USA and GB & I will be contested the weekend of the 12th & 13th September 2015 at the Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club. Over the years this famous old links has had the privilege of hosting 11 British Open’s with probably its most famous seeing American amateur Bobby Jones lift the Claret Jug way back in 1926. In fact 1926 was a very special year for the club as just before that Open Championship King George V gave his approval in adding the word ‘Royal’ to the clubs title. Royal Lytham & St Anne’s Golf Club is located in North West England an area rich with terrific links courses. The 40 mile stretch of coastline starts with Royal Liverpool Golf Club (Hoylake as the locals call it) at its southern end and runs north all the way up to St. Anne’s Old Links in the north with no fewer than 15 links courses to choose from. Apart from Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s, Royal Liverpool and Royal Birkdale who between them have hosted the Open Championship no fewer than 32 times, other notable courses in the area include; Hillside, Formby, Southport & Ainsdale, Hesketh, Wallasey, West Lancs and Fairhaven. Royal Lytham St Annes FairwayWhat is making this area very popular with clients is you can book your trip with TTF and stay in the same hotel for the week with the furthest drive no more than an hour from your hotel. There are direct flights from New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami and Orlando into Manchester Airport so check out a sample itinerary and the location of these courses on our website; Give us a call or email and ‘Walk the path of Legends’ as well.

Fore Golf in Ireland

Over the years at ‘Travelling the Fairways’ we have made many friends but I wanted to take time and introduce you all to a very special gentleman by the name Derek Murray from ForeGolf in Ireland.

Derek is one of the World’s leading independent experts on golf club technology and the art of custom fitting and club making and his qualifications will leave you in no doubt as to the specialist skill set he has acquired over the years.

  • Qualified Class A Master Club-Fitter and Clubmaker.
  • Ping Gold Putter Awarded for Outstanding Contribution to Golf.
  • GCA Irish Clubmaker of the Year 2005.
  • GCA European Clubmaker of the Year 2007.
  • GCA Award of Excellence 2008.
  • GCA World Clubmaker of the Year 2010.
  • European Tour Qualified & Experienced Club-Fitter/Equipment Advisor.
  • Equipment Editor - Golf Digest Ireland.
  • Equipment & Technology Consultant – Golf World Magazine UK.
  • SFA - Highly Commended Outstanding Small Business of the year 2013.
  • Honorary Life Member of The Old Head of Kinsale Golf Links.

Throughout his career Derek has worked on ball flight and club solutions with Masters winner Ian Woosnam, Multiple Major winner Padraig Harrington, Open Champion of 2011, Darren Clarke, US Open winner Michael Campbell, the late, great Seve Ballesteros and numerous European Tour & Challenge Tour professionals including, Sergio Garcia, Gary Murphy, Shane Lowry, Thomas Aitken and Raphael Jacquelin.Derek Murray

He has also been assigned by a number of player management companies to help advise players on contractual arrangements regarding equipment suitability ahead of potential moves by the professional tour player from one brand to another.

Derek’s unique and very specialized skill-set has also been retained by the PGA of Canada as equipment fitting project consultant where he is being assigned to help design, develop and deliver a new equipment fitting programme for their PGA members. He is currently assisting one of the world’s most prestigious private member golf clubs in the USA in designing and developing an on-going exclusive, brand agnostic club fitting system and in-house club-fitting programme.

Foregolf Club Room

Derek has designed a multi-branded travelling fitting kit which allows him to attend events, golf days and private golf clubs and provide advice on the best equipment to suit every level of golfer. A cloud based system connects the fitting session to the workshop in Ireland where the client can order from the recommended clubs at the end of the session and they are then built and shipped directly to the individual client a few days after the event.

As many of you who have travelled to Scotland and Ireland before to play the great links courses in our part of the world will know, it is a very different game than you may be used to back home. At TTF we are always looking at ways to add value to your golf trip to Ireland and for any of you who wish to visit Derek and his team at Fore Golf located just outside Dublin on your golf trip; not only will we make your reservations but pay for your ‘full golf bag analysis’ as well. Maybe you want to get your clubs tweaked for the challenges of links golf, well if so Derek is the man with the answers! Contact him for useful advice on;

And Finally

Wishing you all a few birdies at the end of every Rainbow, Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the team at Travelling the Fairways

Ron, Damien, Dave, Martin & Jennifer

Happy St. Patrick's Day!